US Initiates Domestic H-1B Visa Renewals

US Starts with H-1B Visa Renewals

US Initiates: H-1B visa holders, including Indians, can now renew visas within the United States, a policy shift after two decades. The US Department of State initiated a pilot program in June 2023, allowing up to 20K qualified non-immigrant workers to domestically renew their H-1B visas.

US Initiates Update

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced this during his US visit, specifying that renewal stamping would occur within the US. The pilot program, spanning five weeks, accepts 20K participants, with equal distribution between those who recently received H-1B visas in India and Canada.

The State Department launched a website ahead of the pilot, enabling visa holders to check eligibility. Application submissions began on Monday, excluding dependent visa holders (H-4) and sparking advocacy for broader immigration reforms.

The pilot, initially limited to specified H-1B workers, tests operational feasibility. Critics note the exclusion of dependent visa holders as a source of frustration. Advocacy for wider immigration reforms, including addressing green card backlogs, gains momentum.

The Department of State aims to expand the program’s eligibility and potentially alter the broader landscape of US visa renewal procedures if the pilot succeeds.

This initiative represents a notable departure from the previous requirement for H-1B visa holders to leave the US for renewal, providing convenience and streamlining the process for skilled workers.

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